New Underwater Spider Species Named After Bob Marley

Posted: Dec 29 2017, 12:49am CST | by , Updated: Dec 29 2017, 1:24am CST, in News | Latest Science News

 
New Underwater Spider Species Named After Bob Marley
a female individual of the new species Desis bobmarleyi. Credit: R. Raven

The new spider species only appears at low tide

Researchers have found a new species of spider along the coastline of Queensland Australia. The new spider species usually remains hidden underwater. It emerges only at low tides. Due to this behavior, researchers have named it Desis bobmarleyi in honor of the legendary reggae musician Bob Marley and his song “High tide or low tide.”

"The song 'High Tide or Low Tide' promotes love and friendship through all struggles of life," explain the authors for their curious choice of a name. It is his music that aided a field trip to Port Douglas in coastal Queensland, Australia, to collect spiders with a highly unique biology." said Drs. Barbara Baehr, a researcher affiliated with Queensland Museum.

The description of new species is based on several male and female spiders spotted and collected from brain coral in January 2009. Both sexes of spider predominantly have red-brown color, while their legs are orange-brown and covered with a dense layer of long, thin and dark grey hair-like structures. The females appear to be larger in size and measure around 9 mm, whereas the male was about 6 mm long.

These spiders are well-adapted to the underwater life by hiding in barnacle shells, corals or kelp holdfast. While the tide is high, they build air chambers from silk which allow them to breath. Once the sea water level drops, spiders come up to the surface and hunt small invertebrates that roam in nearby rocks, corals and plants.

Marine spiders are still poorly understood, although many have been found in different areas of Australian coast. The same goes for the new spider species.

The exact distribution range of the newly described species is largely unknown but it is currently spotted in the intertidal zones of the Great Barrier Reef on the north-eastern coast of Queensland.

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